Soccer senior Clark played through pain for team

By Daniel Wallace
Sports Writer

The Baylor soccer team will lose one of its smartest players when the season is over.

Senior forward Christine Clark from Littleton, Colo., will graduate in May after four years at Baylor.

In her time at Baylor, Clark has served as great motivation as a substitute for the Bears and has given the team energy and intelligence that cannot be replaced.

Head coach Marci Jobson said Clark is one of her smartest players, adding that she can quickly react to change on the field and often sees things on the field other players miss.

“When she really started being the most effective for us was when she understood what her role was and to be a spark off the bench and to come and make things happen as a spark,” she said. “She’s really done that now; she’s accepted that role. She’s learned how to manage her body and her injuries.”

After her freshman season, Clark was diagnosed with compartment syndrome in her shins. Compartment syndrome occurs when the connective tissue in the leg becomes too thick and causes the muscles in the surrounding area to tighten.

She played through the pain in her shins throughout her freshman year and had surgery on both legs in the spring of that same year. The surgery was the first Clark ever had and she did not have as speedy of a recovery as she would have preferred, she said.

“It was really hard because I didn’t play soccer the whole spring or summer,” Clark said. “It took me a really long time to get back in shape and back to playing soccer. It was a big trial for me. I didn’t know if I was going to make it back.”

Clark said it was tough not being able to practice and going through rehab. She added that if she had to go through surgery again, she would not let herself get distracted from her family and her teammates.

She said she has not experienced the magnitude of pain in her shins since the surgery but continues to have to work through the pain of her calves expanding and her feet going numb because of the syndrome.

Her roommate, senior goalkeeper Catie McGowan, described the human health and performance and recreation major as being a goof and having a hilarious drama queen personality. On the field, McGowan says Clark is a leader because of her knowledge of the game.

McGowan said Clark knows conceptually and positionally where every player on the field should be.

“Her gamesmanship — when to waste time, when to play quickly, when to hold it in the corners — is amazing,” she said. “Just watching her read the game, you can learn so much from her.”

One of the greatest moments when Clark’s skills and intelligence was put in play was in her sophomore year against the University of Colorado.

Clark recalled that moment as being the most memorable in her Baylor career, as she scored the game-winning goal against the Buffaloes.

Being from Colorado, she knew a handful of girls on the Colorado squad and savored the victory that much more in her homecoming.

What Clark said she loves the most about soccer is the outlet it provides. She can take any problem she has out onto the field, but when the game starts, soccer becomes an escape and a place where she can have fun thriving, she said.

“It consumes me so much that it can take my mind off of anything bad that’s going on,” she said. “It’s a time for me to time-out life, to play soccer, be fit and do what I like doing.”

Athletics have always been part of Clark’s life and she said she would like to keep it that way. She desires to pursue a career in coaching upon graduation in May.

Clark has two goals on 18 shots and two assists in 30 games played this season.